Doctor of Philosophy in Experimental Medicine (PhD)
CoBrA Community Brain Art Initiative: Co-created brain health promotion with the Downtown Eastside community
Dr. William Panenka is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of
British Columbia. He holds a unique dual certification from the College of Physicians and
Surgeons of Canada in both the specialties of neurology and psychiatry, one of only two such
specialists in Western Canada. He is currently a member of the BC Neuropsychiatry Program with a
specific focus on brain injury patients.
As a clinical researcher, his main goals over the next five years are to continue his work with the homelessness in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, and set up a mild traumatic brain injury research program at the University of British Columbia.
Reductions in hippocampal volume have been well established as a correlate of disease expression in a variety of psychiatric and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s dementia, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, HIV infection, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and substance abuse. Although conventional neuroimaging studies focus on the measurement of total volume as a surrogate measure for integrity, abnormalities in hippocampal morphology are intuitively equally important yet less well-studied. Hippocampal cavities (HCs) are a common morphological variant found frequently on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations of the brain. Although they are common findings, their etiology and significance are unclear. We conducted a systematic review of the risk factors for the presence and severity of HCs visualized on MRI. We found that the vascular risk factors of age and hypertension were the most robust risk variables associated with HC, but limited associative evidence exists for a diverse set of other variables including apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype, smoking, depression, transient global amnesia, mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Considerable methodological heterogeneity is a marked limitation of the current literature. Meta-analysis confirmed the presence of significant heterogeneity between studies (I²: 95% CI [94.3%, 94.0%], p